Search engine rankings are powerful. Ranking at the top of a search query can add commas to your business profits. So how do we focus on the right things to secure our place at the top of search engines? I cover the details in this post.
This is excitement for an SEO. Rankings and Reporting. Watching the SERPS do their work. The thrill of victory is few and far between. What does it take to make a site grow forever?
The Typical Discouraged Search Engine Ransack Crisis Begins
When you start a website, you want traffic. You want people to share every post. Then you expect their friends to share and visit. You expect people to come flocking from all ends of the earth to read your amazing website. You even expect to make money and fast.
Unfortunately, most of us have experienced that moment of hitting publish and hearing crickets. Tweet this if you know that feeling!
Then we get that one amazing email. A comment on your blog is on hold for moderation. Excitement feels every ounce of your nervous system. Goose bumps start to form. Then we read the comment.
“Buy cheap pills at this site.” Of course. The site is alive. Spam has found us.
Time to Have a Critical Personal Inquisitive Decision
At this point, you either quit or you start to learn. Learning brings us into an exciting world. Tweet this if you made the decision to learn instead of quitting!
A world filled with online business and websites. It has dreams of income and residual millions. Online passive income with automation robots running the entire thing. Five-hour workweeks via Tim Ferriss are the rage. Classes that teach you to be rich from Ramit Sethi. Online forums with millionaires telling you how they did it. Even the crash test dummies like Pat Flynn are making more money monthly than you do in a year.
Reading the online success stories helps you focus. Your excitement and dream are real. You have seen whats possible and you know you can do it. Excitement again enters your bloodstream. This is possible, and you see it.
You then find the most amazing acronym. Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.). It comes in two shades. Choices are critical, and this one comes early and often.
Time to make a decision. Pure or dark? The light or the dark side. White or black hat SEO? Let’s dive into that adventure!
The Guided Approach to Forever Secure Rankings
We want rankings that improve and stick forever. Remember that black hat SEO techniques are deceptive. Search engines will not put up with black hat SEO. If they catch your site using black hat SEO, it will not rank. Your website will not last if you try and cheat the search engines. The key to all this is being caught by the search engines. They seem to catch most, but not all.
Black hat SEO is the practice of manipulating the search engines. You manipulate the factors that cause a site to rank. These factors are how search engines add up which site should rank first. That means that black hat SEO follows a pattern you can learn from.
Not to Insult, but Learn From Black Hat SEO?
This statement jumps off the page at you. What on earth can you learn from black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO focuses on ranking for traffic purposes. They want to sell something to that traffic. They are not building engagement. They are short-term focused on ranking and banking.
Learn how they rank. Don’t practice the automated software they use. Look at one major point. They achieve rankings, even if it is for a short period.
Black Hat SEO Ranks Because of Backlinks
Brian Dean analyzed one million Google search results. He figured out that backlinks are the most important ranking factor. Moz did a similar study. Stone Temple Consulting just finished a study as well. They all concluded the same thing.
That’s right. Backlinks are the number one factor to ranking in Google or any other search engine out there. That may be shocking to you.
There are blogs, spokespeople, and writers who are saying different. They talk about the other ranking factors and show bad case studies. They deceive you, and you forget that backlinks matter. They matter the most.
Backlinks are the largest factor for site rankings. Because of that, your site needs backlinks. Backlinks are the major reason your site will rank or not. Black Hat SEO tactics focus mainly on that fact. That is why they still work for short term periods of time. They achieve high volume of backlinks. Some even get powerful quality backlinks. They rank the site and at some point it crashes. A penalty is given, and they move on.
The difference is that black hat SEO focuses on easy to get backlinks. Private blog networks that you buy links from are at the top of the list. If you follow the short term wins of black hat SEO, then you will be climbing out of a Google Penalty.
Learn from them: backlinks are important. Don’t practice the art of deception that they use.
The Sobering Truth About Rankings
Taking one moment to bring a real perspective to procrastination. Your site may not rank for a long time. This is a long-term success plan. There are few shortcuts. The shortcuts are your talent and skills.
The amount of time and effort it will take to rank forever limits your competition. Most people quit well before optimal results can start to happen. That is good news. If you focus on long term, then you can win. You will be one of the few.
Do the Basics and Be Consistent
You still need great articles. You need a fast site. You need all the other ranking factors to be in your favor. Focus on doing the small things right in the beginning. With time you will improve. At some point, you will increase your efficiency. Then you can take your backlinks to the highest level. Focus on consistent progress.
The consistent fundamentals I talked about in the article Why Your Blog is Failing to Reach 1,000 Pageviews Daily and 23 Ways to Fix It.
How to Earn Backlinks and Skyrocket Your Rankings
Let me make this easy to understand.
Step two is to focus your time on developing link worthy resources, in-depth guides, and great in-depth posts that cover a subject in its entirety. Content creation from market research. You focus on your market and build out the answers to their questions.
Step three is networking with other blog owners and websites. Form relationships and get them to link to your content. Guest blog on their sites to drive traffic to your site. Make sure you focus on keywords that will rank forever. Use their site’s SEO power to rank for that term forever. Build relationships with influencers. This takes time. You don’t get there in one email. You may want to put yourself in their shoes.
Step four is to build a process that makes this easier to repeat by being efficient and effective. You build a process and people. Manage the process with the people. The process is where you start to train others to run your website and company. Keep your ideas and don’t focus on shiny magic pills. Results tell you what works. Tracking tells you why. Keep your focus on growing your traffic. That traffic comes from SEO and a trusted audience.
Wait, Step One was What?
Step one is the most important factor. This is why more blogs and websites never reach rankings that withstand the test of time. Consistency is the first step.
I am as guilty as the next person of this. You start something out of excitement but have no follow through. A few great post later, and the project is on hold.
Where is the follow-through? Where did all that passion go? I struggle just like everyone does. Do not close yourself off when this happens.
Your Personal Conviction is the Challenge
The path to gaining that consistent follow-through is mission critical. It is simple, but not easy. Simple because it is easy to understand. Not easy because it involves emotional barriers you may have.
If you are not sold out on the concept that your website is answering, then you are not going to stick with it. You are not going to do the necessary small steps it takes to win. You are not going to see the project through to the end. The product has to have your heart in it.
That is the hardest thing. There is no real end. You have to be sold out on helping your audience. Tweet this if you are sold out for your audience.
How Do You Fix Personal Conviction?
Self-discipline is the first place to look at. You may already be cringing at this word.
Don’t worry. We all lack self-discipline around certain areas of life. The fact remains, you can overcome your weak discipline habits with a few simple steps.
Self Mastery and Personal Power
You have to understand your own self-defeating beliefs. These are stemmed from conflicting desires. Conflicting desires are when you want something, but you also want the opposite. I want to lose weight, but I want an Oreo. These are normal. They are the difference between your short term goals and your instinct of producing today’s results. Short term satisfaction with long-term larger gains.
Your authentic desire will free this for you. Your authentic desire comes from being congruent. Congruent where your heart, logic, and soul point to the same outcome. Find out what you want the most and only go after that.
Find your authentic desire and start to map it out. Conflicting desires come from the willingness to succeed versus the pleasure of putting off the task. Why do you not produce content for five hours a day? It is easier to get busy and disregard long-term wins for short term satisfaction.
Again the example for me is the want to lose weight but the immediate taste of a cookie. I have to gain an authentic desire to want the weight loss more than the short term taste of the cookie.
For SEO and website developers, the cycle starts when you let doubts creep in. That critical voice creeps in as soon as you make a decision you are uncertain of.
This is how this plays out. You started a website. You then realized that it did not become an instant success. Your conflicting desire of income and wealth versus present day survival started.
Now you have no proof that you are going to achieve the goal of a great website. You have no proof that you have what it takes to achieve success. You also will not have any “fast” proof that your heading in the right direction. That makes SEO and website development for entrepreneurs difficult.
Short term wins are not involved with white hat SEO. This is why so many of us have dabbled with black hat SEO. Why the allure of a private blog network or dropped domains being 301’d seem fascinating. We can do something to get short term success.
Find Discipline in Others’ Fascinating Success
Another reason your started project is floundering is because your discipline level dipped to zero. Here is why.
Once you started on your website your habits changed. You got busy. You stopped reading all the success stories you did when you were doing research.
Those success stories are what drove you to get started. You needed them then and you need them now. That is why I jokingly talked about some of the books and sites I reference earlier. Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, membership sites for SEO’s all help build your excitement. They also help stoke the fires of your passion.
They are what make your desire stronger than the conflicting desire. They help you achieve your authentic desire.
Your Calendar Should Tell You a Story
Let’s put this into perspective. Desire is something that you will argue with someone about. Conviction is something you will die for!
Your calendar is a personal item. Your calendar planned out with perfect chunks of time is a must. If you are not using a calendar, then start.
You should look at your calendar and know if you are motivated. Motivated people seek meetings and times for uplifting interactions. They plan their outcomes through action.
Failure starts when you stop working your plan or fail to ever have one. Do something great! Start looking for cool motivational posts.
The story that your calendar is telling you is personal. We all struggle at times. Find ways to plan times to motivate yourself. This has helped me tremendously, and I hope it does the same for you. Drop a comment and let me know if you try it.
Execution is More Important Than Knowledge!
It is far more important to execute than become 100% knowledgeable. Application of knowledge is powerful. Knowledge without application is a book.
You should apply what you learn. Focus on application rather than gaining more knowledge. Only read or research what needs to be done at that moment. This is how you start knocking out giant task fast.
Look for useful productivity systems to help you do this.
Quit delaying and get more done. Execute single task in given time frames. These small wins will help your belief.
Once you have your life planned out. You can see what you need to execute to achieve at a higher level. You can install some processes.
7 Steps to Ranking Forever, Made Simple
You have your calendar. Your personal convictions in order. You now schedule motivational moments to keep your desires inspired.
Now you want to actually start building some of those powerful backlinks. We want to focus on backlinks that are earned.
Here is the simple process to fulfill it:
- Focus On Your Audience and Their Pain
- Promotion and Outreach Pay Off Big
- Use Trusted Tools to Improve Your Speed and Effect
- Use Software to Enhance Your Process
- Stay Motivated, Consistent, and Cutting Edge
- Take Advantage of Technical SEO to Increase Search Rankings
- Track Progress Against Competition and Win
Focus On Your Audience and Their Pain
Emotional intelligence will take you a long way in your writing. Focus on finding out how your audience feels. Gain a deep understanding and keep it.
Now write your heart out. Pour your soul into writing to your audience. Focus on building out one excellent SEO silo. Make sure you have lead magnets and automation in place.
Follow a daily task list of writing. Improve how you perform each time. Overtime your results will lead to better content faster. Commit to focusing 1 hour daily to writing minimum. Your audience needs you.
Here is my writing cycle. Feel free to copy it. Let me know in the comments if you want me to dive deeper into each of these in a later post.
- Create Images
- Promote More
- Engage On Older Post
- Update Old Post
Promotion and Outreach Pay Off Big
Now that you have a solid base built. You have an organized approach to developing content. You can now focus on building those backlinks.
Start with finding websites that already rank for keyword terms you are looking for. Hit the contact form for each of those and just start a conversation. Ask them if they struggle to make content. Everyone does. Then ask if they have ever tried <insert a method you are doing like this post>? Open-ended questions that are struggles you face help start a relationship. Show that you are a real person and vulnerable. It lowers the sensitivity we all have to spammers. Then you can ask if they have seen your blog post and for their thoughts. Are there any follow-up points they would add? The relationship has to be real.
Once you have a relationship you can ask if you can create some content on their site. Start with asking for a link. Ask by pointing to a specific sentence on a page where the link makes sense. That makes it easy for them to copy and paste the link in. Send them a Starbucks card as a thank you. Then make sure and comment often on their post. Read the blog. Become active on their channels.
This is the basic version of this conversation. There are some extreme methods to earning links that you can do later on as well.
Here are a few of those other methods to earn links.
- Focus on shareable content. These are all easy ways to gain more exposure.
- Expert Roundups work well. Link to the experts interviewed. Tag them in the social shares. Email and ask them to share and link back.
- News jacking is a method where you take breaking news story and turn it into content. Focus on freshness.
- Find content with links pointing to it and make a better version. Then email asking the original links to update their links.
- Link to other blogs and sites in your post and then shout out to them that you linked to them in the story.
There are a lot of other in-depth guides and resources for this, but these five are easy to execute. All link earning needs humans to power the outreach. This is where you can improve your process by using software.
Use Trusted Tools to Improve Your Speed and Effect
You can use a handful of tools that will make your life better. The tools are only to help speed up your process. They are not magic pills that will fix your problems. Remember that software improves #SEO process. It does not make a process.
If you have a process that is working, then use tools to make it faster or more efficient. Tools and software only improve what you are already doing.
A few pieces of software are great for growing your links and search engine rankings. Don’t get crazy and buy software you never put to use. Develop a process and add software. Then move to the next.
Use Software to Enhance Your Process
Software is made to improve your current processes. You should only start to use tools and software to help speed up your process.
Make the process first. Test the process. Make it better with software and tools.
Your search engine rankings can be built without any of them. Remember that. Human outreach and content are how you rank.
Use Lead Capture and Automation Software
There are endless lists of which one to use. Look at the price and try a demo. That is how I make my decision here. Each site and process needs certain criteria that are different to work. Choose wisely with growth and scalability in mind.
Look at the design and your ability to sculpt it. Aesthetics matter a lot when it comes to lead capture. I use thrive themes but just started using them. Bitblox is inexpensive and seems fast and easy with my first test. They are small and new, so not all features are there.
Use Relationship Management Software
Ninja Outreach has two specific uses here. You can use their tool for outreach and keeping track of who you have emailed. You can build your process around their emails and follow up emails. It is inexpensive.
The other use is of their services. They can amplify the same link earning process that you do. Buzzstream is an alternative that I used before Ninja Outreach came out.
Use a CRM that interacts with your automation as well. Make a deal process for sales purposes.
Landing pages are a must. You will need to have a design you can replicate quickly and inexpensively. This is why I am trying out thrive themes.
You do not have to break the bank with any of these software purchases. Look at buying for a year at a time to save money.
Stay Motivated, Consistent, and Cutting Edge
The level of your desire and motivation will have the largest impact on your project. Manage this and make checkpoints in your calendar to manage it. Your search engine rankings depend on you.
Make sure you are reading. Readers are leaders. Mimic the success of others. Stay on the cutting edge.
Find a website and follow the success pattern they have shown to be effective. Looking for that pattern will make your progress seem more achievable.
Take Advantage of Technical SEO to Increase Search Rankings
This topic comes up a lot so I will be covering it more soon. The basics are to speed up your site and make Google happy.
The easy short version is to use tools such as GTmetrix to find out what is slowing down your site. You can often hire someone to correct your problems from this tool for cheap.
Optimize pictures using online tools and plugins.
Find duplicate content and crawl errors and fix them. Look in Google and Bing webmaster tools for these.
Use the SEO silo approach to not confuse search engines about your content.
Dive into a community such as wpmudev for your specific content management system. You can find a whole new level of understanding. These guys help me a ton with awesome support.
Track Progress Against Competition and Win
Take the tools that you use for seeing your backlinks and run them on your competition. Look for links that the site has and find ways to reach out and earn them as well.
You should not stare at the screen as your rankings change daily. Have a weekly time you track progress. See what is happening based on the links earned that month.
Making sure you are not pogo-sticking with first-time users is important to your rankings.
Remember the Reason For Your Rankings
The people who are coming to your site are the reason you want search engine rankings. Do not lose sight of that.
Engagement and interaction on your site will make or break it. Traffic from search engine rankings helps only when you have engagement. Make sure your site speaks to your audience’s core pain points.
Try these points and let me know if your sites rankings increase. It takes hard work and discipline, but it can be a fun journey!
What are your biggest struggles in making your site have amazing search engine rankings? Tell me in the comments.
Featured Image: reallinemedia/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo 2: gustavofrazao/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo 3: mireko/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo 4: iqoncept/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo 5: edu1971/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo 6: alexndz/DepositPhotos.com
All screenshots by Will Robins. Taken June 2016.